Equibase Analysis: Who Might Topple X Y Jet In Mr. Prospector Stakes?

The 63rd running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes marks the comeback for X Y Jet, winner of more than $800,000 in his career and a multiple graded stakes winner. X YJet won the 2015 edition of the Mr. Prospector, but has been away from the races for 13 months. Nine other horses line up for the race including Fire Mission, who is riding a four race winning streak and shares the same trainer as X Y Jet in Jorge Navarro. First Growth could be formidable in the race as he won the Claiming Crown Express Stakes over the track in his most recent race. Multiple Stakes winner Sonic Mule faces older horses for the first time but is another with credentials to succeed, as is recent Millions Sprint Preview winner Quijote. Sweetontheladies is another previous stakes winner and most recently finished second behind Quijote. Other entrants in the Mr. Prospector are Fast Friar, K Wave, Quinientos and Yourdreamsormine.

Fire Mission has won 16 times in his career, including his last four races in a row. Those were the four best of his career, in which he earned 102, 102, 100 and 104 Equibase Speed Figures. These efforts and figures match up with the other main contenders in the field such as Quijote, who earned the same figure winning a stakes race last month. Fire Mission is being ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard for the very first time in his most recent win. That effort on November 26 turned out to be a “Key Race” from which the third, fourth and seventh horses all returned from to win their next starts, all improving their figures significantly as well. With the ability to stalk likely pacesetter X Y Jet and be in position to take over on the turn or in the stretch, Fire Mission may be the one to beat in this year’s Mr. Prospector Stakes.

Quijote is another very tough competitor, evidenced by his record of six wins and three runner-up finishes from 13 career races on fast dirt tracks. Since changing trainers before his start this past May, Quijote has won two of three races, both stakes. The first of those two wins came in the Big Drama Stakes in May with a career best 109 figure. Two races later and following two months off, Quijote won the Millions Preview Stakes with a 104 figure. He is very likely to improve upon in his seconds start off the layoff and as a four year old that has yet to peak. Jockey Batista was aboard Quijote for his most recent win and rides once again so we must take Quijote very seriously as a contender to win this race.

First Growth won seven races in a row starting in March including a stakes win in August with a career best 112 figure. Following a fourth place effort, First Growth was given three months off and returned with a superb try in the Claiming Crown Express Stakes three weeks ago, powering off to win by three and one-half lengths with a 108 figure. Jockey Corrales rode First Growth for the first time in the Express and rides again and as the horse is another that can lie up close to the pacesetter early and take the lead turning for home we must give him a long look at the outcome here.

X Y Jet will likely go to post as the betting favorite given his record 6-6-2 in 18 races, with earnings of $801,153 and the fact he is a multiple stakes winner. However, he has not raced since November, 2016 and his two efforts last fall after returning from performing in the Dubai Golden Shaheen Stakes were sub-par. As a horse who likes to lead early and coming back from a long layoff, there is little doubt X Y Jet will be in front from the moment the gate opens, but as a low odds favorite with a number of question marks I have concerns he can beat a number of others who are just as fast and who have run much more recently.

The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is Fast Friar (106), K Wave (99), Quinientos (101), Sonic Mule (106), Sweetontheladies (101) and Yourdreamsormine (108).

My Selections:
Fire Mission
Quijote
First Growth

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